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Mick comes into the New York Café late one night and buys some cigarettes. We can already see the teen angst coming.
She spends her summer making plans and wandering the town with her brothers Ralph and Bubber. She also tries to make her own violin and is bitterly disappointed when her project fails.
Mick grows increasingly fascinated with Singer and starts to watch him.
Another obsession she has is music: she sneaks out at night and goes to the rich part of town, where she listens to radios outside of people's windows.
After realizing that her dad is lonely, Mick makes some effort to bond with him. What are summers for, if not parent-child bonding?
In the fall, Mick starts Vocational high school and she throws a prom party at her house to make new friends. Mick proms (i.e. walks around) with Harry Minowitz, the Jewish boy who lives down the street. Cute.
But things don't end well: some neighborhood kids crash the party and everyone runs around wild.
After that, she starts using her lunch money to pay a girl for music lessons, and she practices daily on the school piano. To top it off, she also starts composing her own music.
In a shocking episode, Mick's brother Bubber accidentally shoots Baby Wilson, and Mick decides to terrify Bubber with stories of jail in order to teach him a lesson. But she feels a little bad about it and she ends up trying to console him after he runs away.
Things are going from bad to worse. Mick's sister Etta gets sick, and the family falls on very hard times financially.
And in case real life wasn't enough, Mick starts having nightmares after learning about Willie being tortured and crippled in jail.
On a lighter note, Mick and Harry go out for a picnic and a swim in the spring. But then, in a not-well-thought-out movie, they have sex.
Harry leaves town, and Mick grows increasingly withdrawn.
When Hazel tells the family about a job opening at Woolworth's, Mick accepts the job. Unfortunately, she gets more and more stressed and depressed after she starts working.
But, in one final note of hopefulness, she dreams that she can maybe, one day, she can buy a piano.